Bridging the Divided

A Charlie Brown Thanksgiving…..

The holiday season is upon us. Christmas music in every store, decorations going up in neighborhoods across the country, and the anticipation of the Black Friday and Cyber Monday sales exhilarate. Do we take a moment to breathe during the holidays anymore?

The older I get the more gratitude becomes the focus of daily life, especially during the holiday season. Ever watch Charlie Brown and the gang during the holiday season? Charlie and gang have a Thanksgiving special. It’s amazing how thought-provoking a few one-dimensional kids, a disembodied school teacher, and a dog can be. Marcie, one of the characters says, “Thanksgiving is more than eating, Chuck. We should just be thankful for being together.” Marcie cut to the heart of the matter; we need to be thankful we are together with whoever sits around the Thanksgiving table. Not to be a Debbie-downer, but none of us is guaranteed a next Thanksgiving or a next moment, for that matter.

Too many families let arguments, grudges, unnecessary stress, and unforgiveness steal the joy of togetherness. Our journey through life is over in seconds in the light of eternity and yet we hold onto grudges, stress over non-important issues, and believe it is more important to be right than cherish the people with whom we are at odds. Sad.

I wonder what kind of changes would happen in the world if everyone decided to just be thankful for being together with family, friends, co-workers, neighbors on Thanksgiving and every day after? Whatever disagreements stand between you and others in your life, take a moment and think of the good in those people. 

The popular “namaste” that is found on everything these days is a Hindu greeting and acknowledgment of the Divine in all of us; in other words, the Divine in me recognizes the Divine in you. What if we recognized the Divine in everyone first before thinking about the disagreements and grudges? I suspect the disagreements and grudges would pale in the light of realizing the Divine is within us all. 

Linus is one of the best Charlie Brown characters; who doesn’t love Linus? Linus, in his quiet, innocent way, brings everything back to the relevant, the real. In the Thanksgiving special Linus delivers this message: “In the year 1621, the Pilgrims held their first Thanksgiving feast. They invited the great Indian chief Massasoit, who brought 90 of his brave Indians and a great abundance of food. Governor William Bradford and Captain Miles Standish were honored guests. Elder William Brewster, who was a minister, said a prayer that went something like this: ‘We thank God for our homes and our food and our safety in a new land. We thank God for the opportunity to create a new world for freedom and justice.’ “

Whether the reality or the stuff of historical embellishment, those in disagreement with one another sat together for a meal and gave thanks for the opportunity to create a new world. Change begins with you and me. Blessings for a Charlie Brown Thanksgiving…..

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